The Why And How Of
Writing A Good Press Release
Aren't you that guy I read about in the newspaper?
A press release is a statement written in the third person that is distributed to the media, articulating to a journalist or editor how and why a particular person, company, event, product or service is newsworthy.
Press releases conform to a short but established cookie-cutter format. They are emailed, faxed or snail mailed to media including newspapers, radio and television stations. A press release is not written to be read by consumers. Target readers are reporters, editors and news directors – those who decide what is and isn’t news.
Why submit press releases to the media?
A good press release may be published as newsworthy, which gives you no-cost publicity. A great press release will not only get published but will spark the creative kindling of a follow up story. Maybe even a feature story for print or broadcast. Unlike advertising, news is accepted at face value and delivers many times the impact. This can attract prospects to you, position you as the obvious expert, pre-sell your proposition, and propel your practice to rock star status.
How do you write a press release that gets read, published, and maybe even followed up with a story?
Start by resisting the urge to give a sales pitch. Think like a reporter – just the facts. Remove your ego. Never say “I” or “we” unless it’s in a quote, and remember a journalist has no interest in promoting your business. A reporter’s only goal is to write a story that will make editors happy and readers say, “Hmmm.”
Here, in a nutshell, is the accepted format for a press release:
Company letterhead and logo
FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
Contact: John Smith
HEADLINE GOES HERE IN UPPER CASE
Subhead Goes Here: Used To Expand Upon The Headline And Further Engage The Reporter In A Possible Story
The press release Lead goes here and gives the who, what, when, where and how of the story. Remember, no hype. Just the facts. Two to four sentences should do.
Here you add support to the statements made in your headline, subhead and lead. Construct your case with solid material that demonstrates the angle, or hook, you’ve taken. Tell why the reader should care about your announcement. Explain how you solve a problem.
Include a quote by you as president of your company. This gives your release a personal touch and brings your name front and center. Don’t be afraid to add a little “you” to your quote. This is your moment to portray yourself as you want others to see you.
Now begin winding down your release with a sentence or two describing your company and what it is you do. This information is “boilerplate” and may be inserted into all press releases.
Standard code for the end of your press release is three # symbols centered beneath the last line.
In keeping with one of my universal truths that says, “If you don’t ask, the answer is automatically no,” I like to add one final line such as: “To schedule an interview with (your name), please call (your phone number),” just to run the thought of a possible story past the reporter.
To see an example of a press release I use to generate thousands of dollars in no-cost publicity for my company, go to Press Release.
Wishing you outrageous success,
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